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December 11, 2012 | 3 minute read

Prevent Cancer with Your Morning Joe?

AICR’s new summary of the evidence on coffee and cancer shows that the popular beverage does not increase cancer risk, but some holiday coffee drinks are loaded with added fat and sugar. Consuming just a few of these drinks every week can lead to weight gain which increases risk for seven types of cancer.

AICR’s tips will help you cut the calories but still enjoy the flavors you love.

Can You Prevent Cancer with Your Morning Joe?

Coffee: What’s the Risk?

If you’ve heard that your morning Joe may cause cancer, you can relax. The latest research says it doesn’t.

The strongest evidence shows that coffee won’t up the risk of pancreatic or kidney cancers and studies of other types of cancer show a similar trend. Better yet, early reports suggest coffee may even be protective in endometrial and other cancers.


A Jolt of Health

You know coffee as a vehicle for caffeine, but it’s also loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants help your cells fight the cancer-promoting effects of oxidative stress and chronic inflammation.

Coffee contains other cancer-protective compounds called lignans, too.

Does Your Coffee Pile It On?

A 16 ounce cup of black coffee contains just 5 calories and no fat. Compare that to the same size peppermint mocha that weighs in at 520 calories and 19 grams of fat.

Whether it’s your daily cup or a holiday treat, if you want extra flavor without a meal’s worth of calories we have easy substitutions for your favorite coffee drinks.

Keep the Milk; Cut the Fat

A latte is espresso with frothed milk.

For a16 oz latté, you can slash about 90 calories and 10 grams of fat by choosing nonfat milk in place of whole milk. Forgo the whipped cream and trim another 70 calories from your beverage.

Make Mine Mocha


Coffee house mochas are typically one part espresso, two parts steamed milk, and a spoonful of cocoa powder.

You’ll also find mochas made with white chocolate, but stick with the dark chocolate and save over 100 calories. And dark chocolate retains antioxidants lost when cocoa solids are removed to make white chocolate.

Sugar and Spice Make It Nice


Like your coffee with a shot of almond, hazelnut, or raspberry flavor?  They may be tasty, but these syrups are mostly sugar with added flavoring.

If it’s the sweetness you crave, try adding two teaspoons of sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon, cloves or allspice. Instant flavor with a savings of 40 calories.

The Healthy Home Barista


You can save even more calories (and money) by making your own coffee drinks at home. Start with the right grind: Medium ground coffee works best in automatic drip makers, while a finer grind is great for making espresso.

Create your own homemade lattés and cappuccinos with an inexpensive milk frother.



Test your home brew and get your coffee fix with our tasty Banana-Vanilla Coffee Smoothie.

Find more coffee recipes from the AICR Test Kitchen here.

More About Coffee


Learn about the research, get tips and find more recipes here:

AICR’s Foods that Fight Cancer: Coffee

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